Devotional Reading for the Day from the Daily Common Lectionary: Luke 18: 15-30
Text: But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” (vss. 16 & 17)
My favorite thing in ministry is baptism, especially the baptism of babies. In my Christian tradition baptism is analogous to circumcision; a sign that we are a part of the household of God. It is also a reminder that we love God because God first loved us, in the words of I John 4.
Being the father of two daughters I know that babies can be challenging; there are the feedings in the middle of the night and trying to figure out what various cries mean before the child learns to talk . And then there are the infamous “terrible twos” that sometime bleed over into the “troublesome threes”. Yet, babies are so cute and tiny and helpless. They are totally dependent upon the adults around them to feed them, shelter them and keep them safe.
When Jesus said that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who come to it as a child He meant that we can only live a Kingdom life if we acknowledge and accept our total dependence upon God. As we mature we like to think that we are in control and sing “I did it my way”. But that is a fleeting mirage.
No sooner did Jesus finish teaching about children and the Kingdom of God than an individual of affluence asked him what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Knowing that he was really seeking a “checklist” in order to justify himself, Jesus told him to simply keep the commandments. In what I image to be a bit of puffery pride the man said proudly that he had done that his whole life. Jesus knew that if the man had kept the commandments he would not have been seeking self-justification. So Jesus gave him a harder challenge; give everything to the poor and follow Him. This, the man couldn’t do for a had a lot of “stuff”.
You see, the man bought the what the world was selling. He thought that he was in control of his life. He thought that his security rested in his hands instead of God’s hands.
The challenge that Jesus gave the man, giving everything away, may not be our challenge. But we are challenged to not let our “stuff” own us. We are challenged to acknowledge our dependence upon God.
Lord God, help me to remember that in life and death I belong to you. It was You who made me and unto You I will return. Help me to grow day by day toward a greater faith in You. Amen.